Minneapolis set out to improve its energy accounting process and adopted EnergyCAP energy management software to meet that goal. The software has now streamlined accounting practices and shortened the time needed to process invoices.
Before EnergyCAP, accounts payable clerks were hand-coding 20- to 30-digit account numbers on every paper invoice. Another clerk in central accounting was entering the handwritten codes into a payment system. The City now receives electronic bills from its primary electric vendor, Xcel Energy. With a customized script, up to 20 invoices imported into EnergyCAP can be entered in five minutes.
The effort is in line with previous moves to increase energy awareness. Minneapolis became the first Midwest city to adopt an energy benchmarking and disclosure rule for commercial buildings, beginning in 2014.
Another benefit Minneapolis is seeing from EnergyCAP is quantified cost savings. The energy manager can understand how an energy savings project has affected energy consumption and demonstrate the savings obtained from the special project. For example, in one project, an office was re-lamped and carbon dioxide monitors were added to the air handling equipment to ensure efficiency of steam boilers. The retrofits cost $78,000, but with EnergyCAP, the City could see that it had avoided $98,000 in steam and electricity use the following year for a net savings of $20,000.
The City has streamlined accounting processes, and the energy management office now has enough data to begin benchmarking buildings with Energy Star. More details about Minneapolis’ improvements are in this case study.
Photo Credit: AlexiusHoratius